Can you recall the late 1980s? That time we didn't have cell phones, let alone the internet? When we wrote letters and cards by hand and dropped them into the nearest post box, which usually wasn't right all that close to our home, right? ...Yes, I am actually that old.
The internet didn't appear until the 1990s, and if you weren't there back then, let me just say that the Internet was nothing like we have today. Compared with what we have today back then it was as clunky as a car with square wheels. However, we were able to find all kinds of information we had never encountered before. Within a decade we had email and actually buy stuff online. Wowee! Another decade shot by and we were able to connect to the Internet using smartphones linked by satellites. By then, we were able to do all that virtually anywhere in the world. Then we had what nerdy kids before the internet was born dreamed about, we could actually make a video phone call.
Today we take all of this for granted. In less than 40 years we have gone from no internet to all the technological wizardry mentioned above. Arthur C. Clarke did say that any technology sufficiently advanced enough is indistinguishable from magic. He was right.
It truly amazes me how we are able to create technology that changes our world, and by so doing changes our behavior to the point we are driven to create even more advanced technology that... and on it goes. The Internet changed us. It informs, and like it or not it, it's used to control our behavior. So, not all good news. Social media can be used to limit the subjects we discuss, and unfortunately, more directly to misinform us. It must be true or they wouldn’t be telling us, right? We saw the photos and the video, so it's true.
To think otherwise is total paranoia… of course.
Remember though, most of us were born with the ability to reason. Then again, to rely on rational alone means belief without knowing. That's where the internet steps in as a vast library to help us once more because knowledge is the greatest gift the internet has given us. With reason and knowledge, we are able to make better decisions and faster. The internet is very cool. Just keep in mind we need to use reason as a filter because some of the information is misleading and unfortunately, often intentionally so.
Back in the 1990s, and even in the early years of the following decade it was not uncommon to hear how the Internet was a bubble would eventually pop. There was a dot com crash, but the Internet kept going, and so did the technology associated with it. Sometimes those we think of as authority don’t like the way it helps change us. But, I would say the genie has long escaped the bottle and it's way too late to put the cork back.
We are about to experience the next iteration. It's happening right now.
Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and the blockchain technology it's based on is still unfamiliar and seems a little scary if not silly too many of us. Yet, this technology changes the world in ways most of us could never imagine. Yes, few of us know anything about the technology, and yet it’s coming down the line like a runaway train. There are questions we should ask, but many don’t know to ask them. These are the how, why, where, and the who kind of questions.
I was thinking about all this one day and decided to write a book for those who stand at the forefront of the brave new world of Cryptos, Blockchain, Hashgraph, et al. That's all of us by the way, but yes, I am pointing at you, the one with your eyes open. I thought, why not write a series exploring both the good and the bad of this new technology, including the brain exploding scenarios that only good SF could possibly do justice to?
A series for teens and young adults (and we know a fair number of older readers enjoy YA books and movies). It would have a good dose of humor, and romance. It would have action and adventure, mystery and suspense too. Yeah, I'm talking the whole enchilada! It would be a science fiction story in the near future.
That's how I came up with my new series Atoma. I really hope you enjoy the story as I publish it over the months ahead. Wild days ahead.
Akemashite Omedetou Gozaimasu!!
That's the greeting where I am currently suffering from morning-after on January 1st. Wishing you all a healthy and happy 2019. Okay, better make that, wishing you a kick-ass great 2019 considering the last 12 months. The Year of the Pig means Go! Go! Go!
And did you know according to Wiki there are five kinds of Year of the Pig? Nothing is ever that simple is it? In China this is Year of the Earth Pig. In Japan it's a wild mountain pig.
There's no stopping those pigs. So whatever you plan to do this year, there's no holding back, just do it. Go go go...
And - don't forget to read more books.
Season's greetings! I hope you are enjoying a relaxing break somewhere warm. Maybe you need a book? Something a little different? This is a book aimed at teens and young adults. I always wanted to write for the age group, but the way it worked out, it was stories for adults that percolated to the surface first.
Atoma and the Blockchain Game is now available for pre-order at Amazon. The book goes on sale January the 10th. Book 1 of planned series begins in the year 2050 and tells the story of a girl named Atoma who makes an almost fatal mistake the day she decides not to take her Attention Deficiency medication.
The world is controlled by a giant corporation called Earth Incorporated. Artificial Intelligence runs all the mega-cities through the Blockchain. Only Zeros, unable to access the system are by default are exempt from the Orwellian oversight. Zeros have no legal status and are interned in gulags, giant re-education centers that are really labor camps in the freezing Alaskan wilderness.
But, Atoma, a bright young teenager, is given an opportunity to avoid spending the rest of her life behind high walls. She has been picked to join a team of young teenage Zeros just like her to be trained for a mysterious mission.
I think there will be enough science thriller/science fiction in the book to keep it interesting for most SF buffs, and enough laughs to keep the rest happy.
Book 2 will be out in March. Wishing all my readers a healthy and, hopefully, a not too exciting New Year.
What is truth?
Is it something vague we assemble out of our day to day encounters and experiences? The Google search engine, today’s headlines via Yahoo, or a Facebook whitewash of news stories, and we may as well mention the legacy mainstream news sources such as CNN, ABC, and the BBC. Or, is truth something far more tangible that exists outside of our conversations on Snapchat and Messenger?
Today we think we are too busy to bother with an article requiring more than 2 minutes of our time. Maybe, 3 minutes, but, you know, that would be pushing it. There would need to be images attached or a video embedded for us to make the effort. Okay, a little sarcasm, but you know what I mean. Our ability to spend time understanding a story tends to be time dependent, doesn't it? We'd have to be sure we were going to get value. So, let me ask you a question. What value do you place on truth?
It seems to me very few of us do anything that resembles real research anymore. I’m not talking a university degree here. I mean setting aside at least 5 minutes to get to the bottom of a news story. An issue of importance. Really, I mean more than 5 minutes.
We tell ourselves we get all the news we need packaged and presented to us. That's the assumption we are making when we set aside time to watch the news on TV or our phone. If we were asked we might reply well, it must be true or they wouldn’t tell us. What else do we need to know? We trust the journalists who tell the stories.
Everything is fine with this line of thinking, until the stories they tell turn out to be incorrect, and we find out it affects us. Then we face the truth. Our trusted news source must have lied to us knowingly or perhaps unknowingly (just to be charitable) .
Didn’t journalism once profess to bring us THE truth? We hardly hear anything like that said anymore. Apparently. now the essentials of journalism hold that “journalistic truth” is subject to revision. Truth can be melded and reshaped. But hey, don’t worry. it’s still true.
A famous writer—it was Ernest Hemingway—once said this about writers. “A writer’s problem does not change. It’s always how to write truly and having found what is true, to project it in such a way that it becomes a part of the experience of the person who reads it.”
I know that fiction is a departure from what we regard today as journalism, which is supposed to be about the facts. But Hemingway is talking about the impact of truth on readers, and so we are talking about the same thing.
Without truth are we not all left alone on our own separate desert island? Is that where we want to stay?
Today, we look at our children and we know, hope, that they are the adults of tomorrow. That they will recognize the truth and benefit from it. So we get back to the question. What is the truth? More often than not, the bravest among us are the young. Our children.
Songwriter, performer, and rock star, Kurt Cobain recognized as much and came to the succinct conclusion that “(t)he duty of youth is to challenge corruption.” But how does youth recognize corruption without knowing the truth? What if truth is being censored?
Julian Assange the founder, Editor-in-chief, and director of Wikileaks an organization that’s been a recipient of a number of awards is a clear example of truth being censored. His political persecution is “connected to an intensifying campaign by the US and other governments to impose far-reaching Internet censorship.” In other words, an attempt to hide truth. How do journalists perform their role or do their work in such an environment?
A number of public figures in journalism and filmmaking have stepped forward to speak out for truth, urging freedom for Julian Assange. Some of the names who have called for Assange’s freedom include the following. British film director Ken Loach, Professor of media studies Professor Piers Robinson, Australian filmmaker Curtis Levy, Sue Phillips representing The Public Committee for Education in Australia, British film and television producer Tony Garnett, and numerous other public figures including Australian John Pilger have all spoken out in support of freedom for Assange.
This weekend there will be a major demonstration in Sydney calling for Assange to be given safe passage from England to his home country Australia.
Here’s a little background. The full article is HERE. I recommend you read it. The urgency of the situation for Assange and for all of us if we lose a truth-seeker and speaker like Assange could not be clearer. “Under conditions of a growing international campaign to demand freedom for Julian Assange, Ecuador’s foreign minister has indicated moves are underway to force the WikiLeaks editor out of Ecuador’s London embassy, where he was granted political asylum six years ago.” From the article by Mike Head.
The document (actually the footage from an Apache attack helicopter) that arguably brought Assange and Wikileaks worldwide attention can be found at this link. Some discretion is advised - if we are adults we should be able to handle the truth, right?
As further background, this interview with a US soldier from Bravo Company who was involved in the incident is eye opening, and yes, his testimony will likely not leave you unmoved.
In Australia, there has been wide support shown by the people for Assange to be released. On Sunday, the Australian journalist and BAFTA award wining filmmaker John Pilger will speak in support of Assange’s release at a demonstration in Sydney on June 17th. There is also a vigil to be held outside the Ecuador Embassy in London on June 19th.
Support truth and justice. Support the protection of Julian Assange’s rights under International law and his safe passage to Australia. Support freedom for truth. Stand up for Julian Assange.
I hope this once in a blue moon blog update finds you and yours healthy and enjoying better weather. Perhaps even getting outdoors a little - but take that book with you. I wanted to take the opportunity of offering you a link to an excellent value promo. Because, where else do you find full books from some 50 authors for buck all in one place?
This is a Kindle only deal. Yes, I am now going wide and will have the retailer links up soon - but I'm awfully slow at these things. This being a one-man project, and you know, writing takes priority.
The 99 cents SFF Book Bonanza Promo* has been put together by author Dean F. Wilson. A big shoutout for Dean! Really good work there, fella! Thank you, for the opportunity to be a part of it.
To go to the promo use the link:
As mentioned above there are over 50 books available in a variety of related genres and sub-genres. Jubilee Year (Erelong Trilogy Book One) is there too. Just look under Hard Science Fiction.This is an excellent opportunity to sample a book from a new author, and there are around 50 to chose from.
And what have I been up to? Funny you should ask
In November last year, I finally published May Day, which is Book 2 in the Erelong Trilogy. It's a bloody good tale with many surprises. It takes the old adage, 'nothing is what you think it is' to a whole new level. The pace ramps up a little from what it was in book 1. There you go. I am listening to you. When you ask for a faster pace, I can dial it up right from the beginning.
Yes, there will be a final book in the trilogy and Storm will be in it, but the main protagonist in that one will be his younger sister, Summer.
Before that book comes out though, there's another trilogy on the way. This one has been on the back burner for several years. I've taken down the manuscripts and blown off the dust and have seen it's almost a thing of beauty. It needs a little work and that is what I am up to right now. Rewriting what was one really long book, and making it into three, because believe me, once I've finished I am sure there are three books there.
It's a satire, which gives me a breather from all that darkness (so far) in the Erelong trilogy. There will also be suspense and thrills, and there will be the usual strangeness.
The backdrop is Japan during the early 1990's. A tumultuous time in Japan. The bubble burst in the world's second-largest economy, Tokyo suffered the sarin gas attacks, and Kobe the Great Hanshin Earthquake. And that's only the background of the story. It all makes for a great story of course. Those were interesting times to live in. Almost as interesting as the times we live in now.
I plan to have all three books in that trilogy out later this year. And then it's on to Book 3 of the Erelong Trilogy.
Don't forget to take a look at the SFF Book Bonanza. It's a goodie!
*Please, make sure to check the price before you buy. Books may not be discounted in all regions.
Let’s say you are an author happily perusing the bookshelves at Apple, Barnes and Noble, or Kobo looking for new authors and interesting titles. Let’s say you happen to see a book that looks almost like yours. Perhaps it has the same title. I mean exactly the same title. Heck! It looks a lot like your book.
There’s no way you can ever know if the author was lazy and didn’t bother to do an online search to check the title did not already exist before they published. Or perhaps yours caught their eye and somehow they forgot they saw it and woke up one morning with a brilliant idea for their title.
Perhaps they liked yours so much they just had to have it for themselves, hoping to gain momentum off the back of your success. Well, if it was this last I suggest you take it as a complement.
Really, the old saying there's nothing new under the Sun remains—for the most part—a truism. We all take from others whether we know it or not. Some are better at acknowledging who’s shoulders they stand on.
Let’s say an author takes not your title but the image on your cover, if it is awesome enough, it is going to be borrowed by others. Case in point, my book. Jubilee Year was published in 2015 with a cover image that juxtaposed a (burning) observatory with a meteor (shower). Now, funnily enough, you can find exactly that image, be it simplified, on at least one book published this year. This book actually shows up on the first page of the book carousel adverts on my Jubilee Year book page. The book carousel of adverts is the second line of covers, the one under the ‘Also Bought’. Now that's pretty darn cheeky!
If I wanted to indulge my fantasies about being a trend setter, I could argue it sparked a whole new trend in book covers featuring meteors over the landscape of planet Earth. But of course, there were plenty of books with meteors and comets and asteroids and stuff on the covers before my book came along.
I know that my title May Day is in fact used on multiple books on Amazon. But honestly, when I first came up with it a couple of years back, I could only find a couple of old books with the title. I wrote to that title so I really did not want to change it by the time it came to publishing time. When it's combined with the series title it doesn't matter so much because it is clearly defined apart from the other books sharing the words 'May Day'.
That was a bit of a ramble, wasn’t it?
In short, don't worry about seeing others borrow your ideas (stealing your entire book is a whole different ball game). The best solution is to write another good book. That way when potential readers think of that title, or that cover, it's your book they have in mind.
You know how you can have a really foul year? Well, the last couple of years have been tough for this writer. Almost all those things that happen to nearly all of us eventually did, in fact, happen to me. How many times did I tell myself when I started out, this I am going to get at least two full-length novels completed each year if I want to call myself a writer. Let’s see, that would mean - since I published my first two in 2015 - I should be releasing my sixth. Don’t I wish? Instead, it will be novel number 3 in as many years.
Did you know Tolstoy completely rewrote War and Peace seven times over six years total before he was done with it? Not that my work is comparable to his - but the lesson I take away from his struggle with an epic is that an author can pay a little too much attention to one book. What a huge accomplishment it is though.
What I can tell you is that those two novels I do have out there have been brushed up considerably. Girl with Two Names and Jubilee Year have been rewritten at least twice and are both much better it. Let’s keep in mind though, I’m no Tolstoy.
I think the third novel will be better for its extended gestation. I had a lot of time to think about the plot and characters. It is the follow on to Book 1 and I think it’s even better.
When does Book 2 of the Erelong Trilogy come out? I am confident it will be available in
October. I hope the wait for those who have read Book 1 will prove to have been worthwhile. The third book is mapped out and two chapters are complete.
This may be letting the cat out of the bag a little early, but I also have another trilogy on the way. This one is satirical. Sometimes you feel the need to do something different, right? And the Erelong Trilogy is after all, rather dark. At this stage, I have about 60% of what will be the first draft of all three books of the new trilogy. This also explains why it’s taken me so long to complete the Erelong Trilogy. And now, after making all those excuses here’s one promise. I will blog more often from this point on.
Edit: Make that November for Book 2.
Starting today, I have a new Goodreads Giveaway. This will only run a short time. Until April 21st. There are two print copies up for grabs. Be in to win, as they say.
The followup to Book one in the Erelong Trilogy is almost finished. Finally-Finally! Hah! About time. It seemed everything that could possibly happen to delay it did. A little more writing to do, then the beta readers will look at it, the editing begins, and last, it will be published. Book 3 is already underway. I am looking at October for Book 3. Maybe earlier. Writing cannot be hurried. I wished it could but it takes time to work out where to place those full stops.
It would be nice to see the story unfold like a movie playing in my imagination, but it takes a fair amount of pondering to work out how events unfold. Then there is the research, and that takes up a large chunk of writing time. I don't want a submariner pointing out huge gaping holes in the part of my book where a sub features and sinking the damn thing. Not to say people who do know stuff are very welcome to write to me with their excellent suggestions. And everyone knows something. And then, there are those characters I need in my story who often seem to dawdle about before they introduce themselves to me. At least it seems that way. It all takes a lot of time. But worth it.
I want to promote Jubilee Year before book two in the trilogy comes out. This is a complete novel, although it does lay the way for the following two books. All books in the series will be able to be read as stand-alone, but there are story arcs that carry on through all three novels. Each one has an ending. No cliff-hanger endings to endure.
Check out the giveaway here:
The first published book, The Girl with Two Names, was intended to fit with several genres rather than a single one. It would have been easier and perhaps wiser to write a single genre book, but no, I never seem to be able to do things the easy way. To my mind it is a noir thriller, heavier on psychology than on suspense, but I trust it does have some of the later.
I would make one comment about the genre label Goodreads has included it under. Speaking as the author, I am quite amazed to see this book listed on that site under the category of abuse, as if it is a sociological work. This is no postmodern treatise. Abuse is a part of the story: abuse within the institution of marriage and from the point of view of an employee working under an oppressive soul sucking contract. But I don't regard abuse as the genre the book falls under. Anyway, my rant is over and I'm feeling better now.
I wrote it as a psychological thriller. The main protagonist is suffering psychosis and tends to be self-centred and that condition doesn't help her. Here the aphorism holds true, 'be careful of what you wish for' (thank you, author Carole P. Roman).
See what you think. I have rewritten the book. Yes, it was published a little too early. I have learned since those early days that you never, never publish a book too early – oh hell, have I ever learned. Well, I won't make that mistake again. It is now approximating what I consider is a cracking good yarn. I hope you enjoy the read.
2017 begins with a giveaway of 2 print copies of The Girl With Two Names. The giveaway actually begins on the 11th of January. I know. It is a little early to be talking about it, but we are less than a week away, and, hey, I just wanted to let you know early because you visited my website. Thank you for doing that.
Those who visit my Facebook Page will also have noticed this event. The Giveaway is held on Goodreads so if you are not signed up to the site, no problem, you still have time.
This is a re-written and re-edited copy of The Girl With Two Names. I know the book initially had a few editing issues and the reviewers justifiably skewered me for doing that. I was learning. I thought I could get away with doing the editing myself. I thought a reader of indie books would be looking for a good story rather than a few typos. I know, I was naive. Really naive. I have learned from that time and aim to improve my work with each book. I aim to please you the reader.
I hope you will take part in my giveaway. There will be another in a couple of weeks. Jubilee Year: Book One of the Erelong Trilogy will also be featured in a giveaway of two print copies. This is also a rewritten and re-edited copy. In the case of Jubilee Year, the rewrite was particularly necessary because Book Two will be out soon (this time I mean it, I do). I needed to add to the story in Jubilee Year to ease smoothly into the plot in the second book.
I hope you enjoy both of my books. I intend to publish far more frequently from here on out. You may want to consider joining my mailing list. It will cost you nothing but for a couple of minutes. I do not share your email address with other websites, and I send out less than one email a month. As you can see from my blog entries, it's difficult to leave the novel writing to even post a blog.
In my emailing list you will receive information about my upcoming novels. And - I offer all those on my mailing list a free novel of your choice. You will also have the opportunity to be a member of my street team, who will be able to request an advance copy of my novels before publishing.
The street team read to give me incredibly valuable feedback on any issues they find in the plot, continuity errors and the like. A character who is swimming in a lagoon and in the next line riding a horse and still engaged in the same conversation with no explanation of a scene change is quite possibly one of those horrendous continuity errors. And, no, they are not expected to do any editing. They also are invited to place a review on Amazon, Goodreads, or just about anywhere they like that the public is able easily to find and to read.
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Copyright 2015 Gerard O'Neill.